I'm pleased to officially announce my next creator-owned book, GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, the first issue of which is coming this June from Image Comics. It's illustrated and co-created by Paul Azaceta, artist of my first book, GROUNDED, as well as my most recent, WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN.
I think it's both of our best work, and in many ways it feels like my career is coming full circle. Five years after GROUNDED, with a lot more work under our belt, we bring a lot more to the table. This is also a collaboration in the true sense of the word. Paul has had significant input into the story, and I'm hitting him hard with reference and trying to push the boundaries of what either of us has done on the page. Definitely a case where the whole will be better than the sum of the parts.
Here's the solicit:
Afghanistan. Marines face a never-ending onslaught of Taliban. But even hell can get worse. The dead are coming back to life in The Graveyard of Empires, and only together can both sides of today’s conflict survive tomorrow’s undead assault.
It's full color, with 32 full pages of story at the incredibly low price of $2.99. DC and Marvel titles at $2.99 will only give you 20 pages of story these days.
We're looking at "Criminal" model for this book. Basically, to publish it in volumes or seasons. This volume will be 3 issues, and offer a complete story (which will be the equivalent of at least 4 22 page issues), with a beginning, middle and end. If there's demand for it, we have plans for sequels.
This is not just another zombie book. Yes, if you like zombies, you'll get them, and you'll see them used in unique ways. But this is first and foremost a war comic. Paul and I did an incredible amount of research, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a comic that depicts the reality of war in Afghanistan.
(It's crazy to me that at a time when we are fighting two wars there are little or no war comics -"Garth Ennis' Battlefields, set in WWII, is a notable exception - let alone contemporary ones.)
The pitch for this was "Hurt Locker" meets "Dawn of the Dead". The first issue is certainly closer to the former than the latter. And, like Dawn of the Dead, while it is a genre piece, the zombies serve as a metaphor for something called "insurgent math".
Kill an insurgent, and you are likely to create 10 more - you've pissed of his family and friends, and possibly caused collateral damage to civilians he may be hiding among.
Kill someone in an area where the dead are returning alive, and they'll come back as a zombie, biting and infecting you and your friends, creating more zombies and perpetuating a different kind of endless war.
As seriously as we took the research, this should still be a fun, action-packed book.
I will have more to say and post about this soon, both here and on my new Tumblr blog. Paul and I will also be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend at table G-25, March 4-6, 2011, where we'll have art to show you and be happy to chat about this.